Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Third Day!

Yesterday was pretty uneventful, I did get a tour of the school which was nice.
In P.E. the kids are learning hip hop so I am dancing with them.. although it is quite funny-- the young pastor (or is it Reverend?) is teaching them! I got asked if I could teach a dance module here coming up to the kids, either ballet or tap. So I am looking into planning some stuff. One cool use of technology was used today. The students brought in their Nintendo ds' and we did a math study review by linking them all together on the network and they competed against one another.  Almost all the kids had a DS.  The heat was still not fixed so it was a chilly day and everyone was talking about the flooding.  The kids got really excited to work with the junior infants (basically the preschool kiddos) downstairs. Each of the 6th graders was paired with an infant and helped the little ones make balloon spiders and trick-or-treat bags. The junior infants were incredibly cute in their little uniforms. The sixth graders also read to them when they were finished. 
As for today:
- we had a sub today who was extremely nice. She hasn't been out of college for that long.  She helped me find the curriculum online and is going to email me a bunch of lesson plans and different things to help me with planning and to see the format they learn  in the colleges.  She also gave me her email and phone number and told me never to hesitate to call if I need anything teaching wise, need a lift, or just want someone to hangout with since I am all on my own. Definitely grateful. She also let me teach SPHE today Which is Social, Political, Health, Education. We do mini lessons integrated in, today was over decisions and bullying. I started off with posing a question for them to answer (One day you are out walking, and you spot a 20 note on the ground. What would you do with the note? (Would you turn it in or keep it?)). Almost all of them said they would keep it and use to buy something! I told them I would never want to drop money around them. We talked through what things they think about when trying to make a decision (pros and cons) and  similar situations they had experienced.  We then moved into me giving them some situations dealing with gossiping and rumors. What they should do in the classroom if a given situation arose.  We ran out of time today but we also are going to be discussing texting and bullying through that medium and what to do about it.
I have half the students names down.. seeing that there are 27 it will be easy to get the rest although I have a lot of eoin's (Owen),Liam's  and  Emma's (Yes, Emma F. at Merrill there is an Emma F. here as well.). I do have a couple more unusual, but Irish names,  in the roster (zeph, Bronagh,Timea, Appoik). The last names are pretty much Irish to a tee. The only adjustment is I didn't get a class roster.... i found one posted on Robbie (the resource teachers desk) and wrote down all the names in my notebook.
- In math they are working on calculating fractions into decimals and then rounding. (no calculators).
-Art they are working on a project for an art contest by one of the credit places. It is something along the lines of what Ireland looks like through my eyes.  One of the funny ones that has been made is  a boy divided his paper in half and on one side he has a pro list and the other a con. On the pro side he listed Drinking Guinness and on the con side he wrote drinking too much Guinness.  Definitely would not be so appropriate in the states. I noticed a lot of the kids divided their paper and separate out things in northern Ireland to the rest of the country. I was told that Belfast really isn't that bad by my teacher but then some of the kids shouted out "what are you talking about Mr. Malseed, there is still loads of violence there". Music does have a vocal teacher that comes in,but art and PE are pretty much lead by the classroom teacher.
- in English they are working on contractions which they called differently. It is interesting to see that they don't read near as much as we do in the states. Reading is more of a passing period type thing and the students are expected to get books from the library on their own time (which the library is only open in the am before school and is run by parent volunteers). Although, Ms. McBain (the principal and my teacher who is also the deputy principal) went to a meeting today about pushing literacy more.
- It is a little bit frustrating of a start, since I haven't really been able to talk to my teacher about lessons and policies and what not due to him rushing in and out (his mother is in the hospital with a severe stroke) and him being out of the building today.  Although things should get less confusing with the start of the new term  Monday.
- I will hopefully get a copy of the daily schedule posted here soon-- it is really mish-mashed together.
- Instead of the kids having notebooks or binders they have little copy notebooks that are kept in class.. (It is included in tuition price). They also have old school writing pens and have excellent handwriting. They have worked on it since entering school and this is the first grade they haven't had to do handwriting exercises as part of the curriculum.
- I found the the name of the game they are all addicted to (luckily angry birds hasn't really caught on here since it is only available on the iPhone and ipod apps market) it is called 'warmux'. Click here to read more about it- i don't know if you can download it in the states.
- The curriculum that they use in the national schools is on the NCCA site (not to be confused with NCAA sports in the states). NCCA stands for National Council for Curriculum Assessment. click for link to the curriculum site. If you do look at this make sure you select the red section and do not click for Gaelic. From looking over it, it seems like a lot of information not organized in the best manner. When u put the Iowa core and their curriculum site up against one another it is quite the difference.

this picture is from 2008 but you can see some of the school uniforms that the kids still wear and my  teacher who is on the far left back row.  My teacher is known for his science projects and winning the young scientist fair  many times with his students.